Willheim Müller Rechtsanwälte managing partner Johannes Willheim is not one for modesty.
Describing the 2006 launch of his firm, he recalls: “We wanted to create a new, more international-style Austrian top-end business law firm, with people who have the educational background, experience and skills, and people you either find in top-end law firms in Austria, or international law firms.”
Innovation is the key word for Willheim, who left Austrian firm Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner in 2005. A year later, alongside fellow Fiebinger partner Katharina Müller, he had launched the firm that bears both their names.
Willheim founded the firm with a large piece of work setting up a new publishing house. Willheim Müller still does a considerable amount of work in the media sector, but other areas such as energy, competition and IP are also core.
Recent work includes large-scale litigation for a major tobacco company in Austria. Willheim is also coordinating arbitration proceedings worldwide for a large Russian energy company, while another partner works closely with IBM in Central and Eastern Europe.
A large portion of the work – around 70 per cent – comes from referrals from foreign firms. Turnover has now reached e4.5m (£4m), although Willheim says partners accept that there remains a risk that this figure could drop as the firm continues to establish itself. However he is confident that there will be growth. Willheim Müller made up its first partner from associate level in 2009 (Bernhard Kall) and is now looking for lateral hires.
“What we’re looking for is personalities and people who are recognised as leaders in their field,” says Willheim. “We want the firm name to be known as the platform for strong individuals.”
Managing partner: Johannes Willheim
Turnover: e4.5m (£4m)
Number of partners:Seven
Number of equity partners:Four
Number of lawyers:15
Number of fee-earners:18
Number of offices:One
Main practice areas:Competition, construction, corporate and commercial, media, private client, public procurement
Key clients:Imperial Tobacco, Gazprom Export LLC, Siemens Bacon